Theo Walcott has expressed his desire to play as a striker for Arsenal next season and insists he is capable of scoring 20 goals a season.
Since arriving from Southampton in 2006, the 22-year-old has primarily featured on the right flank but has drawn criticism for his inconsistent end product.
Walcott mentioned that he would need games to adjust to leading Arsenal’s attack but is adamant his days as a winger may be behind him as he attempts to fashion a similar career to that of Thierry Henry, who successfully converted from a wide player to a striker during his time in north London, and it is believed that Wenger feels Walcott can fulfill his potential in a similar role.
“I was signed as a striker – I want to play up front. I think I have done my trade out on the wing,” Walcott told reporters.
“I think a lot of people forget I’m not a winger. I see myself as a striker, but if I get played up front it will take me a few games to get used to playing there again because I haven’t played there for about five years.
“I think I have done a fairly good job on the wing for Arsenal. For this team I will play anywhere, but hopefully the fans will start seeing me up front a bit more.”
Walcott scored a respectable 13 times last season even though he was sidelined for a large portion with an ankle injury, and he aims to exceed that total next season but does not expect to been an ever-present for Arsene Wenger’s side.
“I’ve been practicing my finishing after training. This season, 15-20 [goals] is my target,” said Walcott.
“I know I’m not going to play every single game. I always work at a high intensity so I’m not going to be able to do every single game.
“The boss will know that as well. Hopefully I will be given a bit more of a free role as well. I’m intrigued to see what happens.”
Walcott views the pre-season campaign as a chance to experiment his own position as well as forming a bond with any new arrivals.
“I’m upbeat about the new season. It will be interesting to see which players come in and what I get out of the pre-season matches, not just me but the whole squad. How we play together, if the boss is going to change anything, the formation, or anything like that,” said Walcott.
It will be interesting to see if Wenger plays Walcott in an attacking position, he could work well up front with Van Persie playing more of a holding role in a 4 4 2 formation perhaps? Gervinho then could take Walcott’s right wing position.